Paraffin processing using agar

From:Sue Reilly

Hi All;
We regularly use agar to oreintate tiny specimens that cannot be seen
properly when embedding in paraffin.
I have found this a very sucessful technique for the numerous tiny
specimens, that research students require histological sections of.
The specimens are fixed. Agar is melted and the moulds used for TEM filled.
Using a stereo microscope the tissue can be placed in the agar and
oreintated. The plug of agar complete with specimen is cooled and placed in
the cassette and left in a solution of 70% ethanol for 12 hours. This is
then processed routinely and embedded in paraplast.
Suddenly, I have a batch where the agar has shrivelled up and is extremely
brittle and will not cut. I cannot find a reason for this but more
importantly I am looking for a way to rescue these valuable samples.
I would be very greatful of any suggestions.

Sue Reilly (Mrs)  
School of Marine Biology and Aqua Culture
and School of Tropical Biology
James Cook University.
Townsville. Qld. 4811.
Telephone: 07-47814181
Facsimile: 07-47251570

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